The Hidden Chemical Dangers of Kangen’s Water
With Kangen (Enagic) being the first ionizer company to make a big splash in U.S., many folks first get introduced to alkaline water via an Enagic representative or product showcase. Those meetings tend to be full of health and technology claims…while some are merited, others skip over a few not-so-healthy (and even potentially dangerous) facts. One such issue is the way Kangen units create their “Strong Water” (extreme pH ranges). Due to limitations in their electrolytic plates and engineering, Kangen requires you add an “enhancer” to the unit every time you want to expand your pH range. In this article, will discuss how and why those chemicals are used and their potential health effects.
In order to produce strongly acidic water, Kangen requires you add Sodium Hypochlorite (aka liquid bleach) to your unit; there’s an injection port on the side of each ionizer. As you see in the image of the bottle below, it’s clearly labeled as “not for drinking”…and for good reason. Here are just a couple of its uses:
Biocide – basically, that means it destroys anything unwanted (slime, bacteria, etc.), mainly during industrial use at paper mills, power plants and other similar operations. It functions by breaking down the cell wall of those critters. Not exactly what you want in your drinking water.
Endodontics – in certain cases, a diluted mixture of bleach is used during root canal procedures to keep potential infections at bay. The Sodium Hypochlorite concentration of those preparations tend to be about 0.50% (the rest is water). The dental literature’s proven that levels much higher start to break down healthy tissues (gums, teeth, etc). Ack.
One of the biggest controversies surrounding Sodium Hypochlorite use is what it eventually turns into…chloroform. Yup, that chloroform. When used during water treatment (and similar applications), a small percentage of it turns into chloroform. We won’t go into the chemistry, but it’s not a negligible amount.
To their credit, Kangen isn’t hiding the fact that Sodium Hypochlorite can be harmful, even during the injection process. Here’s their disclaimer: “Make sure that sufficient ventilation is provided to let our harmful gases that result from Strong Acidic Water. In the worst possible case, your life would be at risk if the gases filling your room has no way out at all.”
Chemical #2: Glycerophosphoric Acid Calcium
To boost alkalinity, Kangen also supports injection of another not so desirable compound: Glycerophosphoric Acid Calcium. This time, the injection port is closer to the front of the unit. This chemical has quite a few uses (food additive, etc.) and while potentially less harmful than Sodium Hypochlorite, it’s still not a naturally occurring compound, so your effective exposure AND reaction to it can and will vary.
Bottom line – how worried should you be?
Neither of the chemicals above are required to generate regular Kangen water (at a standard pH range). However, most users eventually try the extreme pH levels and end up experimenting with the chemical additives. That’s when the risk sets in. Both injection ports feed into a default chamber the unit also uses to prep your drinking water. So, there’s a real potential for the residue chemicals to mix in with your drinking water. And as the unit ages and its efficiency decreases, that risk only increases.
Even back in the day when we researched our very first ionizer, chemical additives were right at the top of our “cons” list…and, trust me, there were plenty of chemicals out there. Fortunately, that’s changed over the years, largely due to public demand. And while I certainly don’t want to scare you off from Kangen (they’ve done a lot for the ionizer industry as a whole, especially in the United States), when other systems meet (and exceed) Kangen’s pH levels naturally…and at $1,000s less, their product line just doesn’t work for us. If you do end up going with Kangen, I highly recommend you skip the additive injections altogether — in our opinion, it’s just not worth the potential risk.
Filed under: Kangen